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Next generation [digital] learning environments: Community Voices

As Technology Enhanced Learning continues to develop, it is clear that some form of digital learning environment will remain core to institutional practices; the levels of integration, features and porosity will continue to change, driven, and potentially driving the behavioural shifts we see in staff and students.

Digifest18 was where Jisc launched “Next generation [digital] learning environments: present and future”. The report looked back at the hundreds of discussions generated from Co-design 16-17.  To launch the report a panel of delegates who had been involved in the co-design process discussed the implications and their personal perspectives.

The authors of the report were myself, Rob Allen and Dave Allen, with substantial advice and contributions from our co-authors Damian Chapman, Nicola Whitton, Simon Thomson, Peter Bryant, Aftab Hussain, Simon Wood, Steve Rowett, Anne-Marie Scott and Anders Krohn.

To create an accessible document the report broke down in to seven key themes

  • Current good practice
  • Large enterprise approaches
  • From institution to individual
  • Self-starter and individual approaches
  • Analytics and learning environments
  • Emergent models
  • Disruptive approaches in online UX futures

The views in the report are also very diverse, from the technology focused – to the political, some of the quotes are below, but have a look at the whole report for context:

Policy, competition and the marketization of learning open up the sector to the influence of platforms and practices that argue they have all the answers. The important question for all of us who lead educational change, who teach classes both face-to-face and online, who have skin in the game of the future of higher and further education is; what kind of experience do we want for our students?
Peter Bryant, London School of Economics

The use of machine learning in the education sector is making. This marks the start of an exciting period where schools, colleges and universities in partnership with technology companies will take their first steps towards developing a personal digital teacher for every lifelong learner.
Aftab Hussain, Bolton College

The development of safe social spaces is at the heart of building meaningful and inclusive learning environments. Online spaces that support learner community – building and facilitation of deep and trusting relationships are necessary for a feeling of safety in the presence of peers. In these learning spaces students can engage with others in new and playful ways, take risks and learn from failure, build resilience and confidence, be creative, and learn to work will others to solve problems in truly innovative ways.
Nicola Whitton, Manchester Metropolitan University

Learning analytics approaches have significant potential, but institutions need to move past the dominant focus on retention use cases and data dashboards to realise this. Analytics need to take into consideration the context in which learning is occurring, and better support all students.
Anne-Marie Scott, The University of Edinburgh

The remarkable range of technological developments and appetite to interact both with a growing diverse student voice and diverse approaches to learning are evident in every aspect of cyberspace and our world of analogue. The next generation of digital learning environments must reach deeper and further into supporting deprived areas of the social spectrum. New cultures of collaboration and participation need to engage, connect knowledge flow…. and enable increased diversity of lifestyles and the richness they bring to learning and knowledge acquisition.”
Damian Chapman, University of West London

The report is available from the Jisc Repository “Next generation [digital] learning environments: present and future”. And is Published under the CC BY 4.0 licence 


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